The previous benchmark testing dealt with standard game resolutions and detail settings, few of which showed any real advantage of the Sapphire Radeon 9800 Pro 256-MB's ample onboard memory. We're now moving to the next phase, and ratcheting up the anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering levels, using both 1280x1024x32 (1280x960x32 for UT 2003) and 1600x1200 resolutions. The charts do not show pure framerates, but instead illustrate how the Sapphire Radeon 9800 Pro 256-MB fares against the Radeon 9800 Pro 128-MB, in terms of relative percentage gains.
The first chart shows the performance gains with both 8X anisotropic filtering and 4X anti-aliasing enabled at 1280x1024. It's a real mixed bag, and though the Sapphire Radeon 9800 Pro 256-MB does finish ahead of the standard Radeon 9800 Pro in every test, there are differences between individual games. For example, 3DMark 2003 and Jedi Knight II are the most affected, while others like Serious Sam and Castle Wolfenstein only show nominal increases.
The next chart maintains the 8X anisotropic filtering and 4X anti-aliasing detail levels, but jacks the resolution up to a card-killing 1600x1200. Here we see Comanche 4 take over the top spot, but compared to 1280x1024, the Sapphire Radeon 9800 Pro 256-MB achieves higher percentages on 3DMark 2003, Jedi Knight II and 3DMark 2001SE.
The hardcore crowd demands a bit of overclockability out of their hardware, and so we naturally tested the limits of the Sapphire Radeon 9800 Pro 256-MB. After extensive overclocking, we reached an upper limit of 425 MHz for the core and 370 MHz (740 MHz effective) for the DDR-II memory. This core speed is consistent with previous Radeon 9800 Pro 128-MB testing, while the memory speed was about on par as well.
We also ran the overclocked card through a standard set of benchmarks to see where the extra clock speed will pay off. Each of our primary 3D game and application benchmarks were tested at 425/370, and then compared to the scores achieved at standard speeds. The next chart shows the percentage framerate gain when overclocked, and clearly illustrates that 3DMark 2003/2001, UT 2003 and Quake 3 once again scale the best, while the rest show far lower gains. Also note that 3DMark 2003 (one of the newest and most demanding benchmarks) is the top finisher in the overclock section, and also placed highly in AA and AF testing.